I saw this pop up last night on Twitter. The hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend was trending, with posts from either side of the “debate”. I thought about it and figured I’d have my say and continue with what seems to be a bit of a Disney theme as of late.
Does Elsa need a girlfriend? Excuse my French, but Fuck, no. I seriously got a lot of rage about this. It seems wherever there is a thing, there are people moaning that it doesn’t represent their specific circumstances.
Let’s look at Elsa. Elsa (from Disney’s Frozen, if there’s anyone in the world who doesn’t know that) is the Snow Queen. The original story is based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson. Disney’s angle on the ending (SPOILERS!) is that the “act of true love” needed to “thaw a frozen heart” was the sisters looking out for one another. That was the “true love”. Elsa’s sister, Anna, found romantic love in the form of Kristoff (and the cutest dog/reindeer ever, Sven) but Elsa ended the film without romantic love.
Here’s my issue. Why can’t we just leave it there? Why can’t Elsa’s story be that she doesn’t “need” romantic love? People whine and whine about princesses and “true love” and “needing to be saved” and all of that, but as soon as a princess ends a film without a ring on her finger, people pull the “she must be a lezzer” card. As soon as a character is a strong, independent woman people pull out the “she must be gay” stereotype.
Should Disney represent real life? Well, to a point I agree that yes, it should. It’s great that there are characters of many different races and cultures. It’s great that there are blonde haired princesses, red haired princesses, black haired princesses and brunette princesses too. It’s great that princesses especially have moved forward from “wears pretty dress, married prince” to the badasses that they often are now. I mean Elsa makes a castle out of ice and snow. You guys, A CASTLE! Out of ICE and SNOW?! But I think we also need to remember that these are fairytales and not real life.
People say “oh but X group needs to be represented” and whilst I agree to some extent, on the flip side I really don’t. It would be impossible for Disney to represent everyone, and like I said in my previous Princess related post, I like to think I can pick out a bit of myself in every Disney Princess and in many other Disney characters too. My favourite as a child was Ariel. Is that because I’m a mermaid? Or a redhead? Or fell head over heels in love with someone I met once? Or because I sold my voice to a sea witch in exchange for legs? Obviously not. About the only thing I have in common with Ariel on a base level is that we’re both white! There isn’t a Disney character that 100% represents me, but do I feel let down or upset by that? Did I spend my childhood wishing for a curly haired princess “just like me”? Nope.
Yes, it would be nice if in the future Disney had a gay character and in the future they likely will, but do I feel that Eden needs a gay character to “normalise” her family? Do we need a “token gay”? No. I think that’s mine and Amy’s job to teach as her parents, not Disney’s. We won’t just be sitting around expecting her to learn from Disney films. We’ll be going outside and learning about what a big, colourful, diverse world we live in.
I just think Frozen was such a success and it’s such fun to speculate. Some people thoroughly do believe that Elsa is gay, good for them. But why should she be gay and not, for example, asexual or bisexual? Are her powers a disability? Let’s write a film about that so that disabled kids don’t feel alienated. Disney can’t ever represent everything. It’s up to us to teach kids that whatever and whoever they are, they’re just as “normal” as everyone else. To make them proud of who they are and give them the confidence to be whoever they want to be. No amount of TV or movies can teach that – that’s up to us as parents and caregivers. Although I guess a gay character would help out the parents I’ve come across on discussion boards this morning who have voiced their objections starting with “I’m not homophobic but…” Yeah ok…
So, to those campaigning to #GiveElsaAGirlfriend, I say LET IT GO!
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